Pioneer Woman’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken


I know there are certain foods that I really shouldn’t mess with, one of them being fried chicken. And after all these years of cooking, last week was the very first time that I made real buttermilk fried chicken without tinkering, gourmetizing or ethnic-tizin’ with funky ingredients like panko, garam masala, five spice or corn flakes. Just fried chicken straight up. And it’s all thanks to my good friend Ree of The Pioneer Woman, who just came out with her very first cookbook called The Pioneer Woman Cookbook: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.

One of the best parts of blogging is the sisterhood bond that blossoms between us gals. Ree is one of my bloggah-sistahs who will bring over a bunch of cheap single-serve generic wine from the corner market in a brown baggie and chocolate candy to our hotel room and giggle until the late hours with the gals. I love that we’re both on our book tours at the same time, me takin’ on the big cities of the two coasts and she taking her entire family to blanket the middle of the U.S.

If you are lucky enough to be near any of the cities that Ree and family will stop at, please do go seek her out. She’s loving, genuine and I promise she’ll make you giggle too.

I promised Ree that I wouldn’t ethnic-tize her fried chicken and she promised me she wouldn’t try to country-tize my Chinese Broccoli and Beef when she cooked from my book! I’m proud to say that despite all the temptations of my spice drawer, I kept true to my word.

How to make Buttermilk Fried Chicken

After mixing the flour with the spices, pour in the buttermilk and milk mixture. Use a fork to stir it up a bit until it’s a crumbly, shaggy mess. Shaggy is good. Shaggy means maximum crisp, crunch and happy times.

Now take a piece of buttermilk-soaked chicken and cover it in that flour mixture. Notice I didn’t say “dip” – you want to press that flour into that chicken good! More flour = more happiness.


Heat up your oil and in goes the chicken, just a few pieces at a time so that it’s not overcrowded.

Now cover the pan up. I’m soooo cowboy. I own a Lodge!


Fry for a few minutes, uncover and remove the fried chicken to a baking rack sitting on top of a baking sheet. Once all your chicken is fried, let it bake in the oven to finish cooking.

Do you now see how shaggy = the highest form of enlightenment? This is Buttermilk Fried Chicken, unplugged, unaltered, unethnic-tized, ungourmet’d


Directly after the buttermilk fried chicken dinner, Andrew and Nathan wrote Ree a little note:


Dear Mrs. Pioneer Woman,


We love your buttermilk fried chicken. If you have any openings at the The Pioneer Woman Ranch, we will come work for you if you feed us fried chicken every day.
We aren’t cowboys, but we sure learn fast. I think we have the right skills and in fact our lives are very much the same as yours.


You wrestle cattle. We wrestle and beat up each other:


We can brush your horsies like we brush our friend’s pet pot-bellied pig, Wilbur.


We’ll even scoop porch poop for you. We scoop poop from our hermit crab tank.


And if Oklahoma is anywhere near the ocean, we can even catch dinner.




Um, uh, okay, that letter actually worked.



Do you need some sidesย to go with that?

My very best mashed potatoes recipe.

Very Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Pioneer Woman’s Buttermilk Biscuits




Pioneer Woman's Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cookbook: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl by Ree Drummond

There are a few secrets that I learned from Ree. The first is the buttermilk bath overnight (no, not you, the chicken). Second, mixing the flour with a bit of the buttermilk makes the breading a little shaggy, which is perfect for maximum crispiness volume. Lastly, baking the chicken after frying ensures that the chicken is cooked through without burning the skin.

serves 6-8 hungry ranch hands (halve recipe if you you're feedin' normal city folk)


2 cut-up fryer chickens
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk, divided
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons seasoned salt (like Lawry's)
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup milk
canola or vegetable oil for frying


1. In a large bowl (or 2 freezer bags) add the chicken with only 1 quart of the buttermilk. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to fry, remove chicken from bowl and let sit on counter for 30 minutes to take chill off.

2. Preheat oven to 350F. Stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and use a fork to mix until little lumps throughout.

3. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 365F. Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing to adhere the breading. Add the chicken to the oil 3-4 pieces at a time. Cover pan and fry 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure chicken isn't getting too brown. Turn, cover and cook additional 3-5 minutes more. Monitor temperature of oil to make sure chicken doesn't burn. Keep in mind chicken will finish cooking in oven.

4. Place chicken on baking sheet and continue frying rest of chicken. When done, bake the chicken for 20ย minutes, until chicken cooked through.

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Comments 76

  1. the domestic mama

    Aw, I love it- mmmm fried chicken is one of those comfort food things! Yum! My grandmother from Georgia used to eat that ALL the time. She lived to be 98, too. When ever I think of fried chicken or fudge sauce or biscuits I think of her. No, she didn’t eat all that as a mixture… that was just some of the food she was known for cookin’ up. Grandmas rock. So does fried chicken. Great post- love the similarities ya made with the boys and living on the ranch!

  2. [email protected] Cutting Edge of Ordinary

    I just got a box yesterday from Amazon with your cookbook in it and PW’s. I can’t tell you how happy it made me. To see my name in a cookbook just thrilled me! It was an honor to be a tester.

  3. The Teacher Cooks

    I love the photos of your boys. Lodge that’s the way to cook chicken. I have a variation of this chicken that is oven fried. I will be posting later this semester when my classes get to the poultry unit. Still waiting for my cookbook. It is slow to get to Borders. Thanks for the post.

  4. Kate

    You are the only person I have ever met that can take a gorgeous picture of fried chicken. I tried and tried to get a decent one for the fried chicken recipe I posted on my site a while back…and finally ended up taking pictures of my chicken salt and pepper shakers. Sigh. Between you are Ree I am sure this is the most delicious chicken on the face of the earth — congrats to you both on the cookbooks!!!

  5. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride

    Ohhhh, that looks sooooo goood! I have only made homemade fried chicken a handful of times. Which is a crying shame considering I’m from the Deep South and that’s like a staple food around here. I had better hide these pics from my husband or he will want fried chicken – right now -at 7:30 in the morning. For breakfast.

  6. Kim M.

    Gorgeous photos, Jaden!

    I received my copy of Ree’s cookbook yesterday, and it is beautiful! Congratulations to both of you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Bush Babe (of Granite Glen)

    My first visit – gorgeous pics and those children… just divine!!!
    Making my mouth water and my eyes smile – you guys sound like so much fun… who knows? You may make me enjoy my kitchen yet…

  8. Kara

    You really did Ree proud! What a great post – great pictures, great-looking food, and such heart-felt words. From someone clearly outside of the “big-time blogger” community, it’s really neat to watch all of you guys become friends and cook “together”.

    So next up – an ethnic-tized version? Can’t wait to see Ree’s Chinese broccoli and beef!

  9. St. Fairsted Farm/ ang

    Oh my gosh, your boys are so precious! I can’t wait to get a copy of yalls’ cookbooks.

  10. Jen C.

    Jaden, you are so funny! What a nice tribute to PW! Your boys letter was darling, as are they!! Congratulations on your new book! Best Wishes!

  11. TheKitchenWitch

    You crack me up! I am deeply wishing that you would come make this for me (or Ree, you can come on over any time, too!). I have a fear of frying…but man, I love fried chicken.

  12. jen

    Your boys are ridiculously adorable!! I’ve got post it notes tagged on both cookbooks of all the things I want to make thus turning both cookbooks into Post It note holders.

    And the single serve wines were the best I ever tasted because of the company it was shared with!!!

  13. alice

    Love this morning’s post! It is such an exciting time for both you and Ree and its been great following both your journey! Congrats Jaden.. can’t wait to see you next week!!

  14. Deanna

    I’ve never tried making fried chicken…whenever I’ve had homemade fried chicken its turned out greasy. I will have to try this. There is a fryer chicken sitting in my freezer.

  15. Dawn in CA

    I have to admit, real fried chicken is on my short list of recipes I’m afraid to try. Maybe it’s the giant vat of hot oil, I don’t know. But seeing how amazing yours turned out has given me courage! Maybe next weekend…

    But – it looks like the recipe might be incomplete? I don’t see anything about the oil temperature for frying. Help! My deep-frying-averse brain needs more intel. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  16. ellaelise

    I love you Jaden! thanks for sharing again another mouth-watering recipe. I love love your new site and congrats on your book. looking forward to getting it soon and start making my family happy again. You’re a great role model ๐Ÿ™‚ Tooties….

  17. Kimberly Collaso

    Hi Jaden,
    I recently heard you on the radio talking about your blog and advertising and I was hoping you could share how you got the advertisers to begin with. Our website has around 200,000 page views per month but we don’t have any ads on it and we would love to change that!
    Thanks for you help:)

  18. Rosemary

    That chicken looks fabulous! I love how you work your family into your blog so well, it’s precious. Looking forward to meeting you in Seattle! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Rachelle

    Guuuurl! You just made me hungry. I love me some good comfort food. Pass the mac and cheese along with that chicken and I am set. Especially when it’s cold outside. That’s why I did a crazy thing like sign up for a marathon. It’s the only way I could get through the winter months without gaining a gagillion pounds. LOVE the photo of the boys. Especially Nathan in his hoodie. Too cute.

    Ps … You inspired me to experiment with “salts.” So tonight … when we grilled … I used “smoked salt” on our steaks. I know. I know. That’s really exotic and stepping outside of the box for me. But you’d be proud that I AM experimenting with some “espresso salt” with a breakfast recipe. ;o)

  20. shauna

    This looks so ridiculously good that I’m hungry all over again. Damn you!

    (Luckily, it’s easy to make fried chicken gluten-free. We just have to use different flours. Oh Danny, can you start frying up some chicken….)

  21. Cate O'Malley

    Love the note to Ree! I just got her cookbook the other day and think I know exactly which recipe to start with – I’ve had such a craving for fried chicken lately, I’ve almost (gasp!) been tempted to go to KFC!

  22. shannon

    Alrighty.. I have always been afraid to fry anything after I accidently splashed a tiny smidge of grease on my child years ago. He was fine, but man.. grease popping everywhere. So, my hubby recently suggested I try to fry chicken. Maybe with your help and Ree’s step by step.. I should be okay. Well maybe.

    Oh, also went to her book signing and watched from afar! Line was huge.. will have to catch her again in another OK town!

  23. Miri

    My dad makes awesome fried chicken. I miss it so much, sometimes I think I might give up vegetarianism just to have it once again. Thanks for sharing this recipe… it’s a classic.

  24. Miri

    @ Deanna: If your chicken is greasy it’s probably because the oil isn’t hot enough. You neat a big vat of oil and it has to be super hot! But be careful. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Stephanie

    Having just discover both of you ladies, I feel sure I will soon be making both this fried chicken and your beef and broccoli. Those are two of my favorite dishes. Thanks for inspiring.

  26. Alta

    I miss fried chicken! I’d have to convert the recipe gluten-free (aka tinker) which would be shameful, eh? But this looks so amazing. I’m so totally going to see Ree at her book signing when she comes to Dallas, just marked my calendar!

  27. Michelle {Brown Eyed Baker}

    Mmm I can’t wait to try this. I’ve never made fried chicken, but yours looks so great I’m convinced I can do it ๐Ÿ™‚

    And by the way, even though it’s blurred I could make out the Shock Top bottle – awesome beer!!

  28. Su-yin

    You are so funny, I love the note to Pioneer Woman! ๐Ÿ˜›
    This chicken looks absolutely heart stoppingly good – I shall be cooking it this week. Thanks to both you and Ree for giving us such wonderful recipes (your broccoli beef noodles were so good that I made it twice in a week, hehe).

  29. Angie

    Those are amazing pictures! Your boys are too cute. Can you believe I have never made buttermilk chicken, I am in my mother’s rut with the egg batter and cajun seasonings, but I am doing this this week, no more putting it off! I love the baking tip, people have asked me over and aver how to ensure fried meats are done, because they always have pink fried meats, and for the life of me, I couldn’t explain how to fix it, or know what they are doing wrong. This is a perfect fix, I use the baking after frying for naked hot wings, but never thought to apply it to fried chicken.

  30. TheWoman

    Oh man, you’re making me crave KFC now. I know, I know it’s probably a poor substitute for the real thing, but I’m lazy…

    PS – You have some goodlooking boys!

  31. [email protected] made me think of my mom’s fried chicken. She is full blooded Italian, but her fried-chicken is all American, and probably (maybe nearly) just as good as this, which looks like the best fried chicken I’ve ever seen. My mom, would say, “oh really, let’s have a cook off.” She’s 74 and cooks every day from scratch.

  32. Mixing Bowl Mama

    Oh my this looks so good! To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever had fried chicken before (it’s not hugely popular up here in Canada unless it comes from that chain restaurant) but I’m certainly willing to try it now. I need a Lodge though, I think.

  33. Charlynne

    Can’t wait to try this…but is the post is missing a few steps? It ends after the buttermilk-flour step.

  34. rita

    that is such a cute letter! even hubby was cracking up on that. …looking forward to trying this recipe!

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